??First prize winners of the Road Safety Competition from the Ellerton Primary School discussing their winning entry with Minister of Health Donville Inniss today.?? (U.Gaskin/BGIS)??

With an increasing number of accidents occurring on our roads, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, is not only urging motorists to pay due care and attention when using the roads, but he has pledged to ensure that sterner measures are in place to deal with reckless activity on our motorways.

He was speaking today during the Barbados Road Safety Association’s National Primary Schools Road Safety 2012 Competition Awards Ceremony, which was held in the General Insurance Association of Barbados’ Conference Room on Roebuck Street.

Noting that the use of alcohol impaired one’s judgment when driving, Mr. Inniss pointed out that the move to implement the use of the Breathalyzer Test to ascertain the level of alcohol consumed by persons driving vehicles had his support.?? "This is a step toward responsible behaviour [and promotes] the responsible use of alcohol," he emphasised.

The Minister also lamented the fact that motorists who drove recklessly and caused fatal accidents were allowed to return to driving after only a six month suspension of their driver’s licence.?? He argued that this penalty ought to be revised as it was too lenient and not fair to other members of society. Cell phone usage, while driving, was condemned by the Health Minister as well.

He also frowned on those pedestrians who negligently used the roadways, and he urged them to do their part to ensure their own safety when going about their business. Mr. Inniss advised them to wear bright colours when exercising, on the highways, and to be circumspect when stepping onto pedestrian crossings.

Referring to the statistics for 2010, the Health Minister noted that there were 20 road traffic deaths, 17 of which were males and three females in the 15 to 44 age group; and that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) had seen a total of 1542 persons as a result of road traffic injuries, 166 of whom had to be hospitalized.

This high number of incidents, he explained, created immense pressure on the QEH, which was then called upon to deal not only with the physical injuries of accident victims, but the emotional toll taken on the families of the victims as well.

"The Ministry of Health recognizes the importance of road safety to a developing country such as Barbados and the burden caused by road traffic crashes.?? Our commitment to improving road safety continues to be demonstrated through collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Works and the other members of the Barbados National Road Safety Council," Mr. Inniss added.??

Students from a number of primary schools across the island were awarded for various activities in support of road safety.?? These include those from Charles F. Broome, Ellerton Primary, The Rock Christian and St. Mary’s Primary.


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